Imagine: How Creativity Works by Jonah Lehrer – review

Saturday, March 31, 2012 - 18:30 in Psychology & Sociology

Alexander Linklater applauds an impressively lucid description of the creative mind at workHow can brain science explain a state of mind? That depends how you define the state of mind. There is a large difference between explaining, for example, that mirror neurons underpin imitative reflexes and speculating, from there, that mirror neurons are the brain-basis for empathy. What is empathy? You may feel it when Oliver Twist asks for more gruel, though you may not when a banker demands a bonus. There is desire in each case, yet empathy occurs not merely by mirroring the desire. It involves character assessment and social judgment too. Perhaps the banker has risked everything to reduce debt in a third-world country. Perhaps you find the characterisation of Oliver laughably sentimental. To describe the neural correlates of empathy, it is necessary to describe the neural correlates of multiple cognitive and emotional processes, not one.In Jonah...

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